How much do rugby players earn

by | Apr 2, 2021

It is incredible how influential sports are and can be in terms of bringing people together, bridging the gap between different groups, cultures, and countries, uniting people from different backgrounds and communities.

Some sports are globally famous, while certain sports are very famous in one part of the world, but almost non-existent in other countries. One sport we will be focusing on today is rugby which is extremely popular in the anglosphere.

Rugby has traditionally been an amateur sport. In 1987 the inaugural Rugby World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. In 1991 the second Rugby World Cup was held in England. That helped popularize the sport to the point where players finally started getting paychecks that reflected the global popularity and rise of the once underrated and underpaid sport.

1995 was an extremely important year for rugby, human rights and the world. South Africa held the Rugby World Cup, got back from international exile and won the cup beating New Zealand’s All Blacks in the finals. Nelson Mandela handed over the William Webb Ellis trophy to the captain, Francois Pienaar, wearing a Springbok jersey – a true symbol of apartheid. 2016 in Rio de Janeiro was when rugby was re-introduced to the Olympic Games, which was the true icing on the cake for all the rugby lovers out there.

The 2019 World Cup broke the record of worldwide audience participation with a viewership of 850+ million viewers.

How popular is rugby?

There are different ways of measuring how popular a sport is, but global viewership is one of the best ways to measure a sport’s popularity. Taking that into account, rugby ranks ninth globally, with a little over 400 million viewers, supporters and fans. Countries like England, Ireland and France in Europe have a huge rugby fanbase, while Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are some of the biggest names in the global rugby world. The 2019 World Cup broke the record of worldwide audience participation with a viewership of 850+ million viewers.

Certain rugby stars and legends have a huge presence on social media platforms and an extensive following. For example, All Blacks most valuable player and an ex-New Zealand captain Dan Carter has well over two million followers. 

DID YOU KNOW? New Zealand and South Africa are now tied with three a piece for most Rugby World Cup finals wins. Australia has two and England one.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Dan Carter (@dancarter_)

How much do rugby players earn? 

The answer is a lot less than a professional American football player playing in the NFL or a basketball player playing in the NBA, but can still make a healthy living. Let’s dig a little deeper into rugby players’ salaries, terms, and careers. 

Naturally, this depends on the status of a player. If it’s an academy player, before moving into the first team, they’ll earn approximately $28,000, which doubles once they’re in the first team. After becoming a full Premiership player, $165,000 is what an average player would make, while a good player can make around $275,000 playing in the Premiership.

These are all average figures, but let’s take a look at the world’s best-paid rugby players:

Dan Carter

Dan Carter currently plays for Racing Metro in France and earns around $1.5 million a year. Carter became a fly-half legend playing for New Zealand, a world’s rugby powerhouse. 

Matt Giteau

Matt Giteau is making around the same amount of money as Dan Carter, approximately $1.5 million a year and has last played for Suntory Sungoliath. He’s known as a man who’s won 103 test caps for Australia in his career. 

Charles Piutau

Charles Piutau of Bristol Bears is making around $1.3 million a year. He plays a fullback position and has formerly played for New Zealand’s All Blacks national team.

Maro Itoje

Oghenemaro Miles “Maro” Itoje of the Saracens makes around $1 million a year. He also fronts up for the English national team.

Dan Carter currently plays for Racing Metro in France and earns around $1.5 million a year. Carter became a fly-half legend playing for New Zealand, a world’s rugby powerhouse. 

Owen Farrell

Same like his teammate Maro, Owen makes around $1 million a year and is currently playing for the Saracens.

Aaron Cruden

Aaron currently plays for the Chiefs but used to play for Montpellier, Manawatu and New Zealand. He makes around $900,000 a year.

Steve Luatua

Steve plays for Bristol Bears and New Zealand national team and makes around $900,000 a year.

Ayumu Goromaru

Goromaru is the first Japanese rugby player on this list. He plays for Yamaha Jubio and the Japanese national team and earns around $900,000 a year.

Dan Biggar

Biggar is a Welsh rugby player currently playing for Northampton Saints and makes around $800,000 a year.

Jonathan Sexton

Sexton hailing from Ireland currently plays for Leinster Rugby and the Irish national team and makes around $700,000 a year.

That concludes our list; thanks for tuning in (or reading) and learning a little about how much rugby players earn.

Check out the 2019 Rugby World Cup Highlights

2019 Rugby World Cup Final Highlights